and expensive things that go into making tv. i'm glad we have some intellectual property laws. that's our show. see you next week.. >> tonight on war stories. tales of men with extraordinary skills. >> hold it until you think you are about to lose consciousness and whip back around. >> and the courage to match it. >> i kept thinking i'm going to live as long as i can. >> they exploded and all hell broke loose. >> the fighter aces, that's next on "war stories." . >> tonight inside the world of the fighter ace, the brave men
who battle in the sky like ancient knights, their single steed replaced by hundreds of thousands of horsepower. i'm oliver north and welcome to war stories. imagine mustangs and f-4's against mig-21's. the clear blue sky, the earth below and the daring skill of the pilots. they twist and turn, climb and dive in pursuit of each other. to become an ace, a pilot must score five air-to-air kills requiring extraordinary proficiency and courage, some say it requires a warrior gene that allows them to overcome fear. climb into the cockpit of pit and joins you in the wild blue yonder with america's greatest aces. >> if you don't get him, he will get you. >> you don't have time for fear. >> the next day i say he is a
dead man, and i don't care if i have to chase him back to the kremlin. >> from the mythical to the lands of leonardo da vinci. two bicycle builders from ohio, orville and wilbur wright will make this fantasy a reality. in 1903, the first powered aircraft flew over the sandy beaches of kitty hawk, north carolina. 12 seconds aloft would change the world forever. >> i've been to kitty hawk, you've been to kitty hawk. they were test pilots, weren't they? >> pretty interesting guys. >> born in 1923, charles chuck yeager grew up a typical west virginia farm boy. he didn't see an airplane upclose until he was 18. his first flight didn't go very well. >> he took off and puked all
over the airplane. i'll never forget when i got back on the ground, i said you made a big mistake. >> just 11 years after the wright brothers first flight europe erupted in war, the battlefield was like none other in history. new horrors like germany's maxim machine gun mowed down scores and chemical weapons like chlorine and mustard gas wafted over the lines wreaking havoc. and a new arena for battle, the sky. >> as soon as people got airplanes in the air, they wanted to hang guns on them. >> walter is a former u.s. air force pilot who has written more than 40 books on the history of aviation. >> everything done in combat today with the exception of nuclear weapons and space satellites and things like that had, been done by airplanes.
>> the airplanes' real success came with the tales of the red baron who scored amazing 80 kills and eddie richenbacher captured the imagination of millions. >> it was nightly, and so it became the focus of the press and all the young heroes were prima donas and stars in their own rite. after world war i, surplus military aircraft were very cheap, and there are a lot of guys who want to continue flying. by flying in air shows, they put out the idea that aviation was viable. so it was a magnificent draw for people. >> reporter: aviators like charles lindbergh and amelia earhart were the astronauts of the day, pushing to go higher and faster. >> aviation was the hot ticket in those days. >> you might say walker was born to fly.
as a boy, no one could imagine what the future held for a son of an architect. though his childhood mischief would offer ominous foreshadowing. >> make an airplane out of balsam wood and light the tail and send it off the roof. see how long it took it to crash. >> many of the military's top brass have disdain to the military aeroplane. none were more zealous than lieutenant billy mitchell. >> billy mitchell believed air power could be decided by more air power. >> it made him enemies and friends, many were world war i pilots like captain robin. >> his son can remember hearing the fly boys spin their yarns. >> used to sit at the top of the stairs listening to my dad
and the comtemporaries. in the depression areas, of course, the entertainment was what they did right there on base, and i'd hear tales of flying. >> robert was born in 1922 and followed father into the sky of coursing a legendary ace and military leader. >> dad took me up on my birthday when i was about 8. biplane, open cockpit. it was quite different from flying a jet. sitting there with the breeze in your face, wonderful. >> mitchell knew that overcoming the military's prejudice against the airplane required a dramatic test. in july 1921 with scores of military brass and cameras looking on, mitchell captured vessels off the virginian capes. they included the battleships. >> a german battleship considered unsinkable, rolls
over and sinks, that's what the world was looking at. >> if you think this would immediately convince everybody we're going to go to airplanes. that didn't happen. >> mitchell's aggressive manner made him more adversaries than allies. he resigned from the military after being court-martialed for insubordination. he died ten years later. of all of his predictions about air power, none is more chilling than 1923, in a report he labeled the masterpiece of his career, he fore told of japan's expansionist ambitions. the civil war that would begin with a naval and air attack on pearl harbor at 7:30 a.m. the attack came at 7.55 a.m. mitchell was off by 25 minutes. four days later, the germans declared war on america. >> both of these nations were
determined to go to war, and so they were determined to have an air force. we were about two years behind the germans and the japanese because we hadn't spent the money on it. >> when pearl harbor was attacked, cadet was in his second year at west point. >> i was on my way to the gym, sunday, somebody came toward me excitedly and said they bombed pearl harbor. who? the japanese. >> where were you the day the japanese bombed pearl harbor? >> i was checking a beautiful young lady back into agnet scott finishing school in atlanta, georgia. we could see it coming before that, so it was no great surprise. >> five months before pearl harbor and short on cash, john bolt dropped out of the university of florida, joining the marines he scored well on
aptitude test and was selected for flight school. 20-year-old jack as he prefers to be called was on his way to becoming a legend. >> a certain instinct that a really good fighter pilot has. what is it? >> just killer. >> i enlisted in september 41 just after i finished high school, and i was crew chief on an at-6. and on saturday we went downtown and spent the night and the next morning the radio was announcing that the japes bombed pearl harbor and were told to report to our base. >> big excitement, the gong and recorders rang after dark and we were all called out and went into formation. >> bud joined the army aircorps in december 1941 and was in flight training. >> we were convinced the aircraft carriers were on the
gulf of mexico and bombing any minute. >> there would be no attack on chicasay. the december of 1942, they all shared a goal to become fighter pilots. within a year, the first of these american heroes would see the face of battle or kill or be killed. >> the biggest concern i think all of us had was what does the german airplane look like? >> coming up as bud makes his way to europe, john bolt joins one of the legendary fighter outfits, the black sheep squadron.
pacific. the spanish for holy spirit was the name of the island that was home to a pool of replacement pilots refining their skills and growing anxious to face off against the japanese. >> and what aircraft were you assigned to fly? >> the f-4u. a beautiful bird. had lots of bugs in it, but it had an engine that was almost twice the horsepower of the zero. >> what were some of the bugs in the early ones? >> planes would cut out at high altitude. the guns would freeze up. if they spilled gas at the top of the fuselage, it could run down inside and the plane blow up. but despite all that, it was really a god send because it was so superior in speed. >> while training there, one man in particular stood out to john bolt. a gruff, hard-drinking pilot named gregory boyington, older than the rest, he soon picked up
the nickname pappy. >> he was a great instructor. he had the benefit of a couple of years of fighting in china and boyington was our senior officer. later, the pool became a squadron, the black sheep squadron. >> in september of '43, the soon-to-be legendary squadron was sent to the russell islands, nearly 1100 miles northeast of australia. >> it was after you got to the russells that you saw japanese airplanes for the first time. >> the first zero that i saw just was going perpendicular to my line of flight and it was with a sun on it and that great big meatball was just blinding you, it was so big. it was just there for a second. and then it zipped on off and disappeared. >> it was a beautiful airplane, but also structurally very, very
delicately built. they didn't put armor in it. when it came across the united states airplanes, it was gone, disintegrated. >> just four months later, john bolt was on his way to becoming an ace. september 16th, 1943, you get your first two kills. tell me about that. >> that particular day, they were just a little slow getting off the ground. they climbed out underneath us. we'd circle around, get in behind them. the two planes we'd sneak up on them and blow them up. >> the competition in the skies to rack up kills was fierce, and any claims of victory needed to be verified. >> usually it required visual evidence from another flier with you seeing the airplane either blow up or hit the ground. then camera film, if you showed that you had significant hits or the airplane blowing up, that
was good for it. >> there was so much action going on, planes blowing up all around you and going by that it wasn't difficult to find somebody who saw you do whatever you did. a kill is a pretty spectacular thing. >> half a world away, bud mahurin became an ace over germany on october 4th, 1943. >> they were 110s. i came into the closest one i could and fired at it and hit it. it eventually went down. pulled off of that one and turned over and saw another one. went after that, shot it down. finally found a third, shot it down. and then found one that was headed back into germany and i followed that for a while and shot at it and damaged it. the main thing that i really learned from that one was that
as i went by the first airplane, the gunner in the back end of it had obviously been wounded and probably killed, but he was stuck in the back cockpit and his body was flailing in the breeze as the airplane went down. and so now i'm aware of the fact that we're after human beings and not just a machine that's flying in the air. >> when "war stories" continues, two of our warriors face a pilot's worst nightmare, goininn
than two months after becoming an ace, walker "bud" mahurin down's three f-10s in a raid. now with ten kills he was the first double ace, an impressive achievement to everyone but him. >> our victories and our challenges were not that impressive. remember that there was a battle of britain and the royal air force, a lot of guys had shot down 20, 25 airplanes. it's a matter of self-survival. if you don't get him, he will get you. >> after months of pilot training in the states, chuck ya yeager finally arrived in europe with the 347th fighter group. he took to the skies in a new plane, a p-51 mustang. >> with the mustang we had eight hours of endurance. we could go all over europe and poland and all the way to russia
and back. >> while chuck yeager was logging missions over europe, john bolt was in heavy dogfights against the japanese in the south pacific. bolt finally hit that magic number, five kills on january 4th, 1944. >> when you made ace, was there any celebration of any kind? >> i certainly celebrated myself. it's a silly thing, but making ace is a big deal. >> march 4th, 1944, chuck yeager is on his seventh mission in the skies over germany. his p-51 mustang, nicknamed glamorous glenn. he suddenly looks down and spots a german me-109 flying alone. >> i pulled up in a big roll and came back and rolled under the 109. he never seen me. i just got up within 200 yards. he blows up. >> yeager had gotten his first kill. but the very next day in a wild dogfight over france, it's yeager who's on the losing end.
a first of german shells takes him down. >> the prop game off my airplane, part of the left wing, the canopy. so i just -- you know, me and my airplane partner, it's that simple. >> one minute you're up there head to head with a german pilot. the next minute you're -- >> coming down. i came out of the airplane, i don't know, probably around 18,000 feet, free fell because you don't open your parachute because it had been rumored that maybe the germans get you in your parachute so i free fell until the ground starts rushing and pulled a d ring. swung by the top of a tree and let myself down. >> in those days there was very, very primitive understanding of what to do, how to survive when you're shot down. >> yeager's upbringing as a west virginia farm boy paid big dividends as soon as he hit the ground in enemy-occupied france.
>> well, there's not a german in the world that can catch a west virginian in the woods anyway. i rolled up my parachute and took off. the next day i made contact with a french wood cutter. i couldn't speak french, he couldn't speak english. he went to get a guy that could. he said what do you want to do? i said i want to get into spain. it's a neutral country. >> chuck yeager spent a month on the run with the french underground before they turned him loose at the spanish border. before making it to safety, he and a felly downed pilot had to cross the rugged pyrenese. >> how long were you in spain? >> almost two months. i was the first guy in my fighter group to return after being shot down. and so they all wanted to ask questions. so we had a big meeting and said, you know, how did you evade? i said the french put me up in the cathouses. which wasn't true. i said germans weren't allowed
to visit the cathouses so they kept me in the cathouses all the time. the guys in the group were all ready to go and bail out the next day. >> bud mahurin's stint behind enemy lines would begin when he too was shot down over france. >> i had no idea what france would even look like, had no idea what europe looked like. i'm from ft. wayne, indiana. i'm not exposed to this kind of stuff. >> chuck yeager was safe but bud was still on the run in nazi-occupied france. hear the amazing tale of his escape when "war stories" returns. push your enterprise and you can move the world. ♪ but to get from the old way to the new, you'll need the right it infrastructure. from a partner who knows how to make your enterprise more agile, borderless and secure.
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invasion to be the beginning of the end of the european war. >> d-day for operation overload was fast approaching in may of 1944, but america's number one ace in europe, bud mahurin was on the ground in france and caught up in a suffer real nightmare. with the help of the french resistance, he was able to avoid the gestapo while hiding in hey stacks while awaiting rescue. >> the airplane that was to pick me up got shot down. and it took about four or five days for the spy gang to re-establish a flight to come over and get us. during that four or five days, i lived with the inspector of police in the city of orleon. >> bud was hiding in plain sight. >> if you were writing a movie, you couldn't write it any different than this. and unfortunately, without my knowledge, i was the star player. it was terrible. and each day as the inspector
would go into gestapo headquarters, again, grade b movie, there would be a big flag outside with the gold ss signs out and german guys standing in those pill boxes at attention. and they'd leave me on a sidewalk. and i kept pretending like i was goofy. i'd walk and talk to myself and stumble and all that. in case somebody came up, i could pretend like i was nutty. >> after several days of acting crazy, another rescue attempt was made. >> that time the pilot came in and made it. we flew back to england. >> after several days of debriefing and a tour back in the states, bud was reassigned to the pacific where he shot down yet another enemy plane. >> more fun than a barrel of monkeys. it's a part of you. it's the part of you that can go mach four. >> it was quite a sight.
i'm sure you saw "saving private ryan." the first minutes of that film are very, very accurate. >> robin oles arrived in england in may of '44, just in time to protect the landings from german air attack. he had dutifully attacked ground targets, but he was a fighter pilot. >> and here it was august and i had been flying since early may and had never seen an enemy airplane. >> in the middle of august, all that changed. flying alone over france, robin smoked two german 190s. just 11 days later, he joined the elite. >> he and another pilot in p-38s formed a gaggle and i felt sorry for them. >> see or be seen. you better see first. going after some bogeys, bandits, i'm headed north. where are you? i didn't even answer. i didn't want them to know. hell, they were mine. i didn't want to share it with anybody. >> unseen, he slid in behind his
next kill. >> just as i lined up, about to pull the trigger, both engines quit. mine. i had forgotten to switch tanks after dropping my drop tanks. i was so excited. so i shot anyway. so to this day i claim to be the only fighter pilot in the history of warfare that ever shot down an enemy airplane while in the glide mode. >> robin downed another me-109 and then rolled into a dive as he raced toward the ground, his controls froze. >> we just went straight down and that was it. i did manage to pull up and just barely cleared the ground. this boy had had it, that's enough. no more fighting, i just want to go home. i looked over my left shoulder and there was a 109 shooting at me. i thought that's not fair. can't he see that i'm scared and want to go home, you know? i mean he's taking undue advantage of me. but instinctively you pull heart
break and that old 38 shuttered, almost stopped. the poor 109 pilot overshot. i just rolled the wings level, he was right in front of me, so i shot him down. then i went home. >> after escaping occupied france, chuck yeager shouldn't have flown again over europe. to protect the french resistance, downed pilots weren't allowed to go back into combat over europe for fear if they were captured, they might divulge the underground secrets. >> i said bs, i'm not going home. that's when i met general eisenhower. he said i normally don't see you guys but i've got people shooting themselves in the foot to go home. why don't you want to go home? i said i haven't done my job yet, general. >> by october 12th, 1944, yeager and his laser sharp 20/10 vision were back in the hunt. >> i saw 16190s. we came up within 200 yards.
man, this is a piece of cake. i opened up on the tail. he broke, ran into his leader and they exploded. then all hell broke loose. there's airplanes going every way. and i remember this one guy started to turn. he had a wingman. and i was in pretty close to him. i led him, like you have to for deflection shooting, and he blew up. and then this wingman had cut his power back trying to get behind me. and so when he did that, i cut the power back. i skidded out and kicked right rudder and it was all he could do with the 650. here i've got four now. another guy heads to the deck so i followed him down and blew him up. >> five kills in one day. a month later, yeager became one of the first pilots to shoot down an enemy jet, the me-262. the jet age was just dawning in 1945. but in the next war, jet
two years after the end of world war ii, the army air corps became the u.s. air force. and the jet age was on cruise control. 24-year-old chuck yeager was an air force test pilot. on october 14th, 1947, in the x-1, he broke the sound barrier for the first time. >> probably the most useful thing i ever did was break the sound barrier, but the most exciting flying i've ever done is combat. >> little did chuck yeager know but the u.s. was marching yet again toward war. june 25th, 1950, north korea invaded south korea. >> what goes through the mind of
jack bolt? >> that i wanted to get in the action. >> at the controls of the 700-mile-per-hour sabre jet there would be plenty of action. 31-year-old major john bolt was flying with the 51st fighter interceptor wing. their mission, seek and destroy. enemy, soviet flown mig-15s supporting the north koreans. >> they really had a far superior plane. you could do a number on the mig if you could get it to hold still for a few seconds. >> tell me about some of the maneuvers you would use in air-to-air against the mig. >> if you get jumped and the mig is in the shooting position behind you and you're down low, the technique for shaking one like that was to pull around on about a 60 turn and you go black. you lose your vision, but you
don't lose your consciousness. so you hold it until you think you're about to lose your consciousness and then you whip back around and the plane pursuing you as probably slid off from the track behind you so you whip back in behind him and get him. >> almost passed out but not quite. >> yes, yes, right. >> bolt had a few tricks up his sleeve. on july 11th, 1953, at the controls of darling dottie, he bagged migs number 5 and 6. >> you become an ace in both wars. >> yes. >> and there's only a small handful of people who were. >> quite a few. >> aren't you the last one? >> the last one? >> i think so. >> there were seven to start with and they're all dead except me. >> what is mig alley? >> it was the yalu river. the migs knew that we weren't
supposed to cross the river and they felt some security in that. you know, that was poorly founded. >> the enemy hoped basing their migs in communist china would protect them from air strikes. >> the migs would climb up to altitude on their side of the river, which was a demarcation line between north korea and n manchuria. our forces would dive across the demarcation line, come over at high speed and attack our people and then turn around and fly back into a sanctuary as fast as they could. >> the rules said don't fly into china. the rules were broken. >> general evers was tracking in the command center and he just raised hell and said you're not supposed to do that, it's against the law. when he got through, he stood up and started to storm out. we all stood at attention and he got out of the conference room,
closed the door, opened it up, poked his head around and he said if you're going to do it, turn off that identification friend or foe. so it was sort of carte blanche. >> there he goes, he's going down. about halfway up toward the yalu river, as i circled, i looked down and saw a truck going down a dirt road. and i thought, well, i'll just nail that truck. and on the way home i'll have a keen story to tell the other guys at the bar. so i finally got all squared away and went down to shoot that truck up and i'm low and slow. and ground fire hit me. so i ended up flying it into the ground. within maybe three or four minutes, north korean soldier and a chinese soldier had me and that was that. i was gone. >> the enemy finally got their hands on colonel walker "bud"
mahurin. he spent 16 months as a prisoner of war, all of it in sill taer. >> it was what we refer to as brainwashing technique. no sleep, practically no food, constant interrogation. they wanted me to confess to having waged warfare against them. so i decided this is it, i can't take it anymore. and then i started to slash my wrists. i got it so blood was spurting out pretty far and i sat down in my chair and put my arms in my uniform and said good-bye to my family. >> but a guard discovered him before he bled to death. >> they started to feed me intravenously for what i guess was about 11 days. and then as soon as that was over, they started the interrogations again. >> he was finally released three months after the cease-fire was signed in july of '53. he retired three years later and went on to enjoy a successful
career in the aerospace industry and he still makes regular trips to luke air force base, home to his world war ii squadron. >> those moments that you're here and that you're flying that airplane, nobody can take that away from and they are wonderful moments. >> his suffering as a p.o.w. was not in vain. today u.s. pilots undergo intense training for the kind of horrors he endured. >> i try to think that i made a contribution. it's a damn small contribution, but i made a contribution. >> in this very plane more than two decades after he made ace in world war ii, robin oles blasted two more enemy pilots out of the sky. this time in vietnam. that's coming up on "war stories." so,as my personal financial psychic,
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by 1966, america was embroiled in the vietnam war. before its end, almost 9 million men and women would serve in vietnam. more than 50,000 would never come home. the best jet in the world was the f-4 phantom. its top speed 1650 miles an hour. 1200 miles per hour faster than the p-51 mustang. it relied not on guns but on heat-seeking, radar-guided missiles. >> i loved the f-4. >> in october of 1966, world war ii ace robin olds went into combat again. for the now 44-year-old colonel, the planes looked different but dogfights were very familiar. >> so you were thinking in a three-dimensional sphere of action. trying to keep track of some 20-odd airplanes all at once. and everything changes. second to second to second to second. so your mind is just buzzing. >> olds commanded the tactical
fighter wing better known as the wolfpack. >> i managed to get four migs only because they got in the way, not because i was looking for them. but i was told that when and if i got number five, they'd bring me home. so i said okay. migs are not important. needing that wing is what's important. >> there's a twinkle in his eye and you get the definite impression that there may well have been victories that he scored that he chose not to record. >> i was only in nine more fights. unfortunately, nothing worked, you know. >> robin olds' last combat mission was in the fall of 1967. in two wars separated by 23 years, he flew 259 combat missions. his final official tally, 17 kills. >> does a fighter pilot need a particular attitude? >> it's basically a can-do attitude. >> robin olds may have been out of the action, but in the spring
of 1972, 29-year-old north carolina native steve ritchie was in the thick of it. on his second tour in vietnam, ritchie was assigned to the 555th triple nickel fighter squadron based in thailand. after his first stint in vietnam, he trained at the air force fighter weapons school in nevada. >> we have a reputation of being very arrogant, very cocky and all of that. you have to have a little bit of that to go into combat. but it has to be tempered with a judgment and training and all of those years of preparation. >> that preparation paid big dividends for ritchie. just four months into his second tour. on 10 may, 1972, he downed his first russian-built mig 21 with an f-4 phantom's radar-gieuided sparrow missile. >> this is a scaled-down model of the sparrow missile that i was using that day and every day. i downed all five mig 21s with
sparrow missiles. >> i second kill came later that month. on 8 july, 1972, ritchie downed two more migs in less than 90 seconds. >> in a dogfight, a gun fight is what we use to hang and shoot. so the job is to maneuver so the mig is in the gun sight and then i actually lock on the radar. and normally it takes a few seconds for it to pulse and lock on. on a mig it was an immediate lock. it was just one of those days where it all worked perfectly. the first missile impact was 47 seconds. to the second mig was 42 seconds. so it was a minute 29 seconds. all this happens in a hurry. we did have a party that night. >> his fifth kill came six weeks later, when ritchie blew another mig out of the sky. >> when you got back from that mission and everybody knows you're an ace now, what's the celebration like for that one? >> that was a great celebration. that's when you could finally
relax and -- because there had been a lot of pressure. the navy, of course, had an ace and the air force was always in competition. >> the highly decorated pilot with 800 combat hours during his 339 missions retired from the air force reserve as a brigadier general in 1999. his achievement in the skies over southeast asia made him an air force legend, and member of an exclusive club, fighter ace. >> i got the greatest message from robin olds when i got number five. i certainly believe that he's the greatest combat leader the air force has ever had. the cable read, fox-trot bravo, absolutely sierra hotel tiger. been pulling for you since may. thousands of blue suitors around the world are standing taller. robin olds. >> don't go anywhere, "war stories" will be right back.
is there such a thing as a natural pilot? >> no. the pilot with the most experience is the best. >> there's been hundreds of thousands of fighter pilots trained since fighter pilots became a commodity. >> only 1% -- of 1% that went in, only 5% became aces. >> just my family, grandchildren, wife, just remembered by them, that's all. >> jack bolt retired as a lieutenant colonel from the marine corps in 1962 and entered law school five years later at the ripe old age of 46. a successful attorney for many years, he's now retired and living in florida. robin olds retired from the air force as a brigadier general in 1973 and now lives in colorado. but the lure of flight has never left him. >> flying across the united states late at night, it's
spread out below, towns and cities are like jewels laid out on a velvet cloth. you're all by yourself. and right over your head through that canopy, the stars. there are times like that when you really don't want to land. it seeps totally into your soul. >> it's almost poetry. these men were also warriors. they were able to combine a sense of duty with the romance of flight. it's that, not the thrill of the kill that got them into the cockpit. their contribution was extraordinary. billy mitchell laid the groundwork for these pilots' great achievements, and for this he was posthumously awarded this medal of honor. the inscription reads in part, for outstandsing pioneer service and foresight in the field of military aviation. the modern american fighter aces we met tonight from the inheritors of his legacy. theirs is a war story that deserves to be told. i'm oliver north. good night.
make you money. this is the best time to do it and the best time to watch lou. and good evening, everybody, i'm ashley webster in tonight for lou dobbs. the race for 2016 got a whole lot more interesting. former republican presidential nominee mitt romney announcing today he will not run for president in 2016. the announcement coming just three weeks after romney shocked the political world by saying in fact, he was considering rung for a third time. >> after putting considerable thought into make another run for president, i've decided it's best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee. >> also, the afghan taliban taking credit for an attack that killed three american contractors